Serious About Data
Driven by the need to be more compliant and more efficient, companies are cozying up to their databases like never before. According to a Forrester Research report released mid-2004, spending on data warehousing is expected to see double-digit growth this year. And because a stocked data warehouse is worthless unless you use it to glean business insight, The Data Warehousing Institute predicts a continued demand for data mining tools.
If your data interests fit this national—if not global—trend, then this month's cover story, themed "Know Your Customer," can help you get the most out of your quest to better understand your interactions with customers, as well as identify untapped business opportunities.
Direct marketing consultant Mary Ann Kleinfelter outlines the best practices for trending your database in "Forecast the Future," (page 28). The key to developing a performance baseline, she notes, is creating bellwether customer segments that you keep intact over time.
Don't let the title of the article on cross tabs by Harte-Hanks' Sam Koslowsky throw you off. "The Simpson's Paradox" (page 32), is not about what happens when Homer Simpson analyzes a database! Rather, it's a cautionary tale of how combining different size data sets within sub-classifications can reverse the direction of your analysis, giving you an entirely incorrect picture on your customer behavior.
Since you won't get too far with your data mining activities if you have what data consultant Bernice Grossman characterizes as dirty data, check out "What's in Your Database?" (page 34). Delving into the world of data audits, this piece reviews the cleaning, standardizing, appending and analytical processes required to get your housefile into shape for modeling and segmentation.
We hope these articles help you get serious about your database!
Something NEW for the new year ...
Looking to get a handle on e-mail deliverability? Visit the e-mail marketing community on this site (go directly by clicking here: www.targetmarketingmag.com/sics/email.bsp) for a special feature from Digital Impact's Dave Lewis on the status of sender-authentication technologies. You then can share your thoughts on this issue with fellow direct marketers via an open forum that lets you post comments and view what your colleagues have to say about their e-mail deliverability challenges. You'll also find valuable tips, information on upcoming industry events, a glossary of terms and more articles on e-mail marketing—all free. Dig in!